This week we have the pleasure of sharing the story of Brisbane local Nadine Roulston. ( @nadine.runs ) Having started running as a teenager, she is no stranger to lacing up the shoes day in, day out. We were lucky enough to meet Nadine at a local event recently and her positive vibes were strong! A genuine lover of the sport but for deeper reasons than what may appear. Read along below to hear the story behind Nadine and her infamous Instagram account filled with sunrise photography..
"It all started when I was 13 in my first year of high school, when I sat on the hill and watched the rest of my school run the cross country race. I remember watching as the girl's winner for my age group crossed the line and everyone already knew her as the "best and fastest runner in my grade". I thought to myself, "hmm, I'm going to win that race next year. I better start training." Ain't it funny when you think of the kind of "life challenges" you had at 13?!
Even now, I am surprised at the level of self-discipline I had at that age, but the very next day I started training. I told my Mum about my goal and she was on board immediately. It might sound crazy but every morning from then on at 4am, my Mum and I would wake up and we would hit the pavement. She would either run with me, take me to the track or drive in the car beside me and keep time as I ran 4kms around our local neighbourhood.
Sometimes in training we would even hit the trails together to mix it up. Sure enough, the next year at my high school cross country race, I won. I kept winning every race until I left high school. By then, I was 17 and still running every morning with Mum before school - only now, the runs were longer and running meant a lot more than just being the fastest and winning every time. My Mum was my biggest supporter and always kept me motivated. She would say things like “Keep going, push harder and don’t give up just because this hill is steep.” She would even show up at my races and shout out “move those long legs, girl!” – that was a good one!
By the time I was 20yrs old, I was averaging 100kms a week with dreams of one day running a full marathon. I still ran with my Mum in the mornings but it became like a form of therapy. I was hooked on that feeling of waking up early, going for a good run and seeing the sunrise, then coming back with that runner's high and feeling good for the rest of the day. It was and still is my favourite time of day. My Mum would always talk about how every sunrise is beautiful and different and how lucky we were to be out there running. A few years ago, my Mum asked me to run “Bridge to Brisbane” with her to help motivate her. I found it funny that in a way, we had come full circle. She was the one who always motivated me, yet here I was helping her. She ran her fastest 10km for that event and we were both so happy!
However, shortly afterwards, my Mum fell sick. It came like a wave out of nowhere – one day she was running around, the next she was bed ridden. As someone who loves nothing more than being active, I couldn’t imagine how she must have felt. In the years that followed, I would still get up every morning and run. I’d stop and take pictures of the sunrise and send them to my Mum. I took part in different events but had no real running goals. Running was like a best friend in a way. All I had to do was put on my shoes, walk out the door and I had an hour (more or less) of “me time”. I could run at any pace, anywhere with anyone or just go solo. I didn’t even wear a watch or log my runs on Strava. I simply ran because I loved to run, I loved the feeling I got from it and I never took for granted the fact that I could even get out there and do it.
This year though, I started making new running goals and also worked hard to tick some old ones off the list. I ran not one but two marathons, I competed for the first time in some trail races and I have signed up for an ultra trail run next year – UTA 50kms. I always told myself that I would wait until I was “older” to run a marathon or an ultra event. But I am older, I am ready and there’s no reason why I couldn’t run a marathon this year. As they say, there is no time like the present.
So it remains that my favourite thing to do is wake up early before the sunrise and run. Sure, its great to have goals and want to be the fastest, to win a certain race or chase a PB, but I always remind myself of why I run in the first place. I think about how lucky I am to be out there seeing another sunrise, how lucky I am that my legs can run those long kilometres and how I have somehow remained injury free. I think about the lessons my Mum taught me and how grateful I am to have something like running that keeps me strong and happy. I often say that there really is no such thing as a “bad run.” At least you went out anyway and your legs were able to carry you the distance and speed, regardless of whether it went exactly how you planned.
There’s a cool feeling I experience during a morning run, that I love the most. It usually comes when I am mid-run, the weather is good and I feel strong with a great stride going. There’s no one around, its just me and the open road with the sound of my shoes hitting the ground. Even though its fun to race and challenge yourself, that kind of moment and that feeling is why I run. It puts a smile on my face and its what I look forward to each morning.
I still stop to take photos of the sunrise on my morning runs, only now when I send them to my Mum, I ask her to choose her favourite and then I post that one up on social media. I know she’s happy that I’m still out running 14 years after I first started and that I still get so much joy out of it. On a bright note, she is out walking now and I plan to help her get back into running, hopefully in the future. It doesn’t matter how far or how long for, it would just be nice to have my first running buddy back. Also, I do use Strava now and a few months ago, I finally bought a watch!"
Thanks again for sharing your story Nadine!
You can follow along and see her morning photos at @nadine.runs on Instagram.